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Poster: wineland Date: Dec 12, 2006 7:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Althea continued...

I did not write this, merely transcribed. When I want to learn more about a song I go to two places. The first is David Dodd's Annotated Lyrics online and in the recently released book. The second is The American Book of The Dead: The Definitive Grateful Dead Encyclopedia. Here's more about Althea from the latter source.

Althea (Hunter & Garcia)

Garcia and Hunter have penned many tunes about women and the madness they are sometimes said to drive men to (Valerie, Rosemary, Sugaree). Such a song is Althea – a playful but realistic scenario of two flawed and suspicious people looking for love. What makes Althea stylistically more interesting than these other songs is that it is relayed as a conversation being recalled by the narrator. He tells Althea what’s bothering him and she always has the perfect comeback.

Commitment, free-spiritedness, and staunch bachelorhood are some of the themes dealt with here, complemented with a warm score that gave the Dead room for volcanic instrumental expression.

In this conversational song Hunter has infused a hefty dose of the Bard. The line “You may be a clown on the burying ground or just another pretty face / You may meet the fate of Ophelia to sleep and perchance to dream” directly links with the scene from Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays. After Ophelia has committed suicide in the tragedy, two clowns dig her grave. They unearth a skull, which Hamlet later holds during his “Alas, poor Yorick” soliloquy. Earlier, before the suicide, Hamlet himself questioned, “To be or not to be,” and mused about the hereafter: “To die, to sleep – to sleep – perchance to dream” concluding that “dread of something after death” made people unwilling to flee the burdens of life.

“You may be Saturday’s child all grown old” refers to the famous proverbial nursery rhyme regarding the attributes an individual acquires according to the day of the week they were born. Hunter may have also been influenced by “To Althea from Prison,” by Richard Lovelace, a seventeenth-century poem which deals with unrequited love.

Recommended Listening:
11.5.79 The Spectrum
8.31.85 Manor Downs
7.19.90 Deer Creek
6.12.91 Charlotte Coliseum

Trager, Oliver, The American Book of The Dead: The Definitive Grateful Dead Encyclopedia, Simon & Schuster, 1997

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Poster: deadmax Date: Dec 12, 2006 7:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

Hey, I like that a lot. I always wondered why a clown and what the Hell a burying ground was. Course, I'm also not up on the Bard the way I should be I guess.

Thanks for the info. I really appreciate when I can be enlightened.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Dec 13, 2006 3:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

deadmax-
always good to brush up on your Shakespeare!

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Poster: deadmax Date: Dec 13, 2006 4:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

I was going to start "brushing up" on the Bard but realized he didn't even start writing until after 1577 so how the heck could it be any good?

Nothing after '77 is any good.

Plus, isn't there some rumor that he didn't actually write the plays? Would make sense with all this '77 stuff.

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Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 13, 2006 6:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

There may be a type of creepy universal tangent here. Think about it: we know the Dead were crap after 1977, but if you look back, any year ending in 77 was marked by bad things happening or starting. In 77 AD, the Romans develop a simple method of distilation making it much easier to become an alcholic. In the year 1277 AD, Bishop Tempier issued a list of condemnations of 219 propositions taken from the philosophy of Aristotle, and forbade their teaching in the Sorbonne. The 50 year reign of Edward III ended in 1377. Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy is killed by the Duke of Lorrainer's Swiss mercenaries in 1477. Peter Paul Reubens (German artist) died in 1577. The Sixth War of Relegion broke out between the Catholics and the Hugenots in 1677 and Charles II of England made Henry Purcell court musician (and we all know what a disaster that was). Vermont declares independence from New York in 1777 (know as The Great Ben & Jerry Rebellion). Crazy Horse was killed in battle in 1877. History has spoken: all good things will cease to be after '77. Good thing I wont be around to see what calamaties befall us in 2077.



This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2006-12-13 14:29:54

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Poster: BryanE Date: Dec 13, 2006 6:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

SomeDarkEtc.-
My God, man! You are hereby crowned the forum's Official Source for Relevant Facts Pertaining to What May or Should Have Been Considered to be Otherwise Irrelevant Information, or the OSRFPWMSHBCOII. It carries with it enormous responsibility and you will be expected to come up with the sort of trivia that you posted in this thread at a moment's notice. You are, of course, certainly welcome to decline the appointment.

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Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 13, 2006 7:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

Judge Wapner comes on at 3. Yeah, can't miss Wapner, yeah. K-mart sucks, yeah. I'm a good driver, yeah.

I'm sure my folks couldn't be prouder that so many years of higher education have resulted in a brain so full of useless facts that I think it may explode.

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Poster: caspersvapors Date: Dec 13, 2006 11:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

3-23-87 ROCKS

and Althea is one of my favorite songs, I find it also to be very underrated

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Poster: cush11 Date: Dec 13, 2006 11:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

Althea? Underrated? Would that not be somewhere between blasphemy and sacriledge? 3/23/87 doesn't ring a bell but any Althea is a good Althea! I never met one I didn't like! :)

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Poster: wineland Date: Dec 12, 2006 7:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

I like this project that Max dreamt up. I'm with you in the fact that life is a constant learning process. The songs mean so much more once you have delved in and seen what is inside them. Hunter and Barlow were great lyricists...and it helps to have talent to bring your words to life through music.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Dec 12, 2006 8:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

yeah we should make this a reoccurring discussion. I want to disect Day Job! j/k

There so much cryptic stuff going on in Hunters lyrics and some of it he won't even tell. I love that. Talking about how fans will come up with better interpretations than he did. My girlfriend just amazes me sometimes with her interpretations. Like Row Jimmy, forgot what she said but it made way more sense than what I came up with.

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Poster: tigerbolt Date: Dec 12, 2006 7:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

good call on the charlotte 91 althea,overlooked gem.

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Poster: wineland Date: Dec 12, 2006 7:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Althea continued...

I had to go back and listen to it myself after you called it out. Although I like the early 80's Altheas, there is something special about the emotion Garcia put into the 90's versions.

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